Vatican reinstates Owensboro priest after sexual abuse allegations

WFIE-TV, Ch. 14 [Evansville IN]

April 26, 2021

By Jill Lyman

Fr. Joseph Edward Bradley, a priest of the Diocese of Owensboro, has been reinstated by the Vatican.

On March 1, 2019, Fr. Bradley was temporarily suspended from public ministry by Bishop William F. Medley following a recommendation by the Diocesan Review Board that an allegation of the sexual abuse of a minor had been found credible.

Officials say a second allegation came forth with both dating from the 1980s when Fr. Bradley was Dean of Students and then Principal of Owensboro Catholic High School.

On April 25, 2019, The Diocesan Review Board recommended to Bishop Medley that the allegations be deemed substantiated.

Bishop Medley accepted the Diocesan Review Board’s counsel and submitted a report to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the Vatican, recommending that Fr. Bradley’s temporary suspension from public ministry be made permanent.

Fr. Bradley, with his canonical counsel, filed an appeal of this decision with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Bishop Medley says he received word last week from the Vatican immediately reinstating Fr. Bradley’s priestly faculties and lifting the restrictions applied.

He says the Vatican decree notes “given the imprudent behavior of the cleric throughout the course of his ministry in education, the Congresso (Vatican body) imposes a penal precept (restriction) on the cleric, according to canon 1739, through which he is forbidden to enter any primary or secondary school for a period of five years.”

Fr. Bradley was already retired but worked part-time in a voluntary capacity as chaplain at Owensboro Catholic High School when the allegations were made.

Father Bradley
Father Bradley (Source: Owensboro Diocese)